Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Reviewed By: Stojan Jovic
The Star Wars community is nothing but passionate. The stories and the lore surrounding its’ universe are vast, and have a lot of depth. It provides almost endless paths and possibilities for any form of media to explore. Admittedly, within video games it’s hit a few rocky points, most especially with the recent Star Wars Battlefront games. Fans wanted a new story within the universe, and their wants have been answered with a fully single player action adventure game. And man, does it deliver.
Staring an all new cast of characters, you play as a young Jedi padawan named Cal Kestis. The game takes place in between the events of Revenge of the Sith (5 years after) and almost 10 years before Rogue One and a New Hope. Order 66 was issued by the Emperor, which resulted in the near full extermination of all of the known Jedi in the galaxy. This purge allowed the empire to take control of governments far and wide, with the Jedi peace keeping force no more. During this purge many Jedi are kidnapped and brutally interrogated and tortured into succumbing to the “dark side” of the Force, and becoming Inquisitors; hunters of any known Jedi in the galaxy that were missed. The game starts out with Cal finding refuge on a scrapper-planet, but his life quickly changes when the Empire finds his location.
I’ll spare more story details in this review, because the lore and character development are very fleshed out and expansive. Lucasfilm worked VERY CLOSE with Titanfall and Apex Legends developer Respawn Entertainment on this game to make sure it stayed true to the Star Wars universe, and of course fit in with the cannon. However, I feel the bulk of the story is within watching Cal, and those around him grow and overcome the various personal challenges thrown their way. Even watching his droid companion, BD-1 grow to become more than just a helpful robot.
Cut scenes are thrown in at great pace, and are well acted and voiced. Each interaction with the characters you meet, and the conversations you have all tell the story well. Especially in the backgrounds, when you hear the Storm Troopers talking amongst themselves. Many of those interactions are down right hilarious.
In between those cut scenes will be the action/adventure gameplay that may or may not polarize gamers. Many people have referred this game to a “Dark-Souls clone” game; punishing combat needing patience and precision-like blocking and parrying. It is unlike other games in the genre because it does have a difficulty level, so if combat games like that aren’t your strong suit, then you can move it to the easiest setting. I am not good by any means in games like Sekiro, Bloodbourne, or any other of those type of games, however I felt the medium difficulty provided enough of a challenge without making it impossibly difficult. It still requires precision in parrying against baton-wielding troopers and inquisitors, monsters and beasts, and even weapon blasts, however it can be difficult to master at times. Therefore the challenge is present throughout the entire game.
The Force Powers will help save you in many instances, from using Pull, Push and even slowing enemies down. Obviously you don’t have unlimited use of these, you’ll have to monitor your “Force Meter” at the bottom of the screen.
The other half of the game consists of exploration, like Tomb Raider meets Metroid-vania. You hop from planet to planet, and explore large worlds ripe with collectibles (mostly skins and lightsaber parts that are purely cosmetic) and stories in the form of “echoes”, past events that Cal can discover and provide answers to the world’s mysteries around him. Many of these exploration areas can’t be all explored right away, and require revisits when you’ve unlocked more Force powers and other abilities. Do not worry, many times the game’s story requires you to revisit areas already explored, or your side characters can “clue you in” on areas that may be worth exploring again. Exploring requires jumping, climbing, grappling, and sliding down slopes (frustratingly). Don’t worry, they aren’t long bouts, combat is sprinkled in at just the right moments to not make the game feel so dull with exploring.
Overall, I feel the story in Jedi Fallen Order is one of the best Star Wars stories to come out in a LONG time. It helps provide a little bit of depth in terms of what happened during Order 66, and a bit of story afterward with those that got away. The new characters introduced into the game, especially Cal Kestis, are all ripe with strengths, but many weaknesses and internal struggles that make all their successes in the game make you cheer. Especially playing as a Jedi padawan trying to find his way in the world, and with the Force. The combat can be brutally challenging for some, especially with its’ precision-like combat, but thankfully it’s easier compared to other games in the sub-genre. Within the in-game worlds, there is much to explore not only for collectibles, but for lore-building and character development. It’s not without its’ bugs however. There were many instances where ledges I reached for didn’t grab, swings from my lightsaber not striking enemies, and levels not loading properly (in terms of graphics). However, those moments were very minor and very infrequent, and never took the enjoyment out of the game for me. This is the best Star Wars game to come out in a long time, and one that will be remembered fondly not only as a great game, but a great story within the Star Wars universe.
-Great story, lore, and characters
-Visceral combat that make you feel like one bad-ass Jedi
-Much to explore in the world.
-Difficulty can be harsh at times
-Occasional bugs (many of which are still being fixed at the time of this writing)